Not knowing what to pack and what to do before a race can be stressful. So I want to help you out by sharing what I pack (and how) to make the race day a little more enjoyable. I also share some misc tips and tricks that I do to get ready for a race. Because being prepared makes life simpler and less stressful in my opinion.
First of all, and most importantly in my opinion is to pack a few purpose driven bags a day or two prior to leaving. When the bags are packed, it reduces the stress that you get from thinking you forgot something. It’s such a good feeling to know you’ve got it all put together.
pack a “race bag” with everything you are going to wear and use for the race. Things to consider:
food (bars, gels, trail mix, etc.)
shorts (optional obv)
shirt (optional obv)
hydration pack (optional obv)
watch (mine is my daily driver so it’s always on me)
heart rate monitor (optional obv)
ID (driver’s license) to get you in to race – this will go in to “post race bag” after you get race packet
cash – roughly $50 to cover parking, storing your bag at the race and any misc items you may want
race barcode – go ahead and print your barcode (or save a screenshot of it on you phone – in case you have bad service). I personally like to have my phone in my ruck so I don’t drop it in mud, so paper is more convenient for me.
pack a “post race bag” – I always use my Ruck as it’s perfect with all it’s internal pockets.
cell phone (in ziplock bag or dry bag – just in case – always want to be prepared for any weather)
car keys (in ziplock bag or dry bag- always want to be prepared for any weather)
ID (this was listed above – after you get in the gate you can stash this in the bag)
grocery bag (or two) for dirty/wet race clothes and shoes
GoPro for pictures / videos
pack a “post race clothes bag” (grocery bag is best to keep mud from dirtying up the clean clothes as your digging through the bag to get your camera out after the race – trust me on this one) with the following:
sweatshirt/jacket (optional obv depending on time of year)
hat (optional obv)
pack a cooler:
Other misc items to throw in the car:
folding chairs to sit in before/after the race
extra towels – I take like 5 towels. I use one to stand on, one to dry off with and sometimes one to hang on the door for some privacy while I change in between my car doors. A couple extra for good measure.
After the race is immediately over I go through the following “process”. I’m only listing this out because when you’re covered in sweat, mud and dirt, the order of operation is important to prevent contaminating your clean stuff.
eat post race banana
drink post race free beer
pick up “post race” bag from bag drop area (I don’t do this before I shower because my clean bag would get too muddy)
pick up t-shirt
head to car to towel off remaining dirt, change and relax
Other misc tips:
have the address of where you are parking for the race saved in your phone or printed out
know how far you’ll be walking from parking to gates (I’ve walked close to 2 miles at one race which added time)
if you wear a smartwatch like you’ll want to make sure it’s charged up
get to the gates early (roughly 1 – 1.5 hours prior to starting – this reduces stress and allows you to warm up effectively
know what you are going to eat in the morning and where (if you are out of town and plan to eat at a restaurant)